28 pages of terror

In one of his many inarticulate malopropistic moments, former President George W. Bush remarked, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me, and you can’t get fooled again.” No one knew exactly what he was trying to say, but the operative word here is “fool”. Bush was a fool who could be easily fooled, but that’s not saying much. The problem is that when Bush was fooled and manipulated by advisers, the American people then got fooled into thinking that what the President believed was actually true. This was especially true following the 9/11 attacks when neither the press nor the public questioned anything that the Foolin-Chief said.

At first we were told that al Qaeda terrorists acted alone on 9/11, and that no single nation was behind the attacks. Meanwhile behind the scenes, Bush was being advised that Saddam Hussein should be overthrown because he possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction, and because he had supported the 9/11 terrorists, and was now ready to use his WMDs against America. Of course none of that was true, but even more disturbing is that one of the men advising Bush to invade Iraq was his close family friend, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to the United States and later, the head of Saudi Intelligence. Bandar was so close to the President’s family that W. nicknamed him “Bandar Bush.” I’ll come back to Bandar in a moment.

And so, in 2003, Bush bombed, invaded, and occupied Iraq, and Hussein was deposed and eventually executed. But soon after the invasion began, Bush learned that Saddam never possessed any WMDs, nor did he ever pose a threat to anyone other than regional terrorists groups who he had ruthlessly kept at bay. Instead of halting the bombing raids and admitting his mistake, Bush doubled down, and expanded the war effort, saying that terrorists were operating in neighboring countries. The war continued in one form or another throughout the Bush Presidency, at which time over 6,000 American soldiers were needlessly killed, along with over one million innocent Iraqi men, women, and children who the “Fool Me” man considered collateral damage. I considered it genocide, and called for Bush and Cheney to be tried for war crimes. That never happened. What did happen was a war that lined the pockets of Cheney’s former company and cost American taxpayers nearly $3 trillion to wage.

As if all of this is not disturbing enough, last year we began to hear about how 28 pages of the 9/11 Commission Report had been classified by Bush, and was not to be released under any circumstances. Only a handful of people, including North Carolina Rep. Walter Jones, knew what was contained in those 28 pages of redacted material, and now they are calling for President Obama to de-classify the entire report. Sometime next month Obama, Congress, and perhaps the Courts will determine whether it’s in the best interest of America to make public the missing 28 pages. So what’s the big deal? Why did George Bush keep the 28 pages secret? The answer is “Bandar Bush”.

According to an article by New York Post writer Paul Sperry, a CIA memo that was leaked in 2013 found, “incontrovertible evidence that Saudi government officials… and intelligence officers employed by the Kingdom …helped the hijackers both financially and logistically…and implicate the Saudi embassy in Washington.”

Lawrence Wright of the New Yorker expanded upon that report when interviewed by Bill Maher on HBO’s “Real Time” last month. Said Wright, “That 28 pages is about the Saudi support network for the hijackers who came to America… and Prince Bandar and his wife are implicated in the report.”

Sperry is more specific about their support, writing, “Prince Bandar and his wife sent checks totaling some $130,000 to Saudi agent Osama Bassman while he was handling two of the hijackers (after they landed in America).

“There are two reasons why those pages haven’t been released,” says Wright.

“One is it’s going to embarrass the Saudis, and the other is it’s going to embarrass the American intelligence community… the CIA found out about these hijackers when they arrived in Los Angeles in March of 2000.”

If analysis of the leaked memo and redacted pages is correct, then that means Prince Bandar was effectively acting as a double agent, pretending to be a friend of President Bush and advising him on military matters, while helping to mastermind the 9/11 attacks. goes one step further, writing that, “Bandar is believed to have been chief of operations for al Qaeda.”

This is shocking information on many levels. First it means that a foreign terrorist leader had unfettered access to the President, his family, and the White House. Second it means that Bush was responsible for the deaths of over a million people because his “godfather” Prince Bandar, had his own agenda, which included deposing Saddam and destabilizing the region. Third, the families of 9/11 victims were told there was no one they could seek reparations from, since the 9/11 attacks were not state sponsored. If the 28 pages are made public, those families will finally be empowered to seek damages. Fourth, it means we should revisit the possibility of a war crimes trial of Bush, Cheney, AND Bandar.

And just to rub salt in our wounds, the flights that Bush arranged on September 13 for the bin Laden family members and other Saudi officials, now take on a whole new meaning. Just before those flights were authorized, Bandar was seen meeting with Bush in the Oval Office. After that meeting, coincidentally 142 Saudi officials and family members were allowed to leave America, while a ban on travel applied to everyone else. In 2004, Sen. Chuck Schumer told Judicial Watch, “It’s awfully strange that on September 13, the only plane allowed to fly was a plane with many high ranking Saudi nationals who might have known something about terrorism.” Not so strange when you consider that 15 of the 19 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia.

George Bush might have been fooled by Bandar and Cheney, but the rest of us can’t afford to “get fooled again.” It’s time to release the 28 pages. !

JIM LONGWORTH is the host of “Triad Today,” airing on Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. on ABC45 (cable channel 7) and Sundays at 11 a.m. on WMYV (cable channel 15).